Archive for May, 2010

A Moment of Our Time

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

By: John Small

  Seated in the shade of old oak trees, several men had gathered for no apparent reason. Two of the men knew each other and were talking. A third lone man sitting by himself explained that he was from Summit, a veteran soldier during the Vietnam War and had heard about this through the local paper.  He was thin and wore a baseball cap with veteran’s patches all over it.  In the soft grass next to him was a camera.  It was a bright warm windy day.  All was serene and it was the last day for the original site of the Justice Veteran’s Memorial.

  Walking up to them I set up the new HD Camera my wife had given me as a gift.  I didn’t know what to expect of the scene but I dearly wanted to have a lasting record of this date.  As time waited, little did I know I was about to record a gem of history and gain an impression to cherish forever.

  A workman was busy cutting away at grout, which held in place the base of a granite monument that had been set nearly forty years ago. With a power saw he was breaking the bonds that tied this heavy relic to the land it sat on along with the dreams and pride that had set it there so long ago.  He wore goggles and a mask for protection as the dust blew around him and the stone monument he had been sent to relocate.  The sound of his tool sliced into the silence of this moment.  As we watched it seemed to me he tried to sense what we were all thinking when he said almost apologetically, “I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I was just hired to do this job.”  We all nodded and agreed, yes the move was not his decision he was just doing his job.  As he continued to cut and chip away at the grout one of the men talking, got up and walked away.

  As we all watched, a gentleman from the Justice Senior Club entered the scene.  He too was a veteran from the same conflict as the man with the baseball cap and just like his fellow serviceman he also brought a camera.  The Senior Club was finished with their meeting and they were headed our way, he informed.  Then as I was turning my camera around, I heard chatter as a half dozen gray haired men and women walked and strolled their way toward the memorial monument and us.

  They didn’t move very fast but I noticed a spring in the steps they made.  Getting closer now I began to hear the voices clearer.  The monument was their focus and they were not happy with the proceedings.  A woman who I heard someone say was 82 years old, in an attempt to keep the memorial were it was had gathered 45 names on a petition in a single day.  They were aged but for now they were young again.  Slowly they gathered around the monument.  Standing on its steps and out in front along the sides of it, they were posing for pictures.  After one round of photos, more seniors had walked up and they too took turns posing for the cameras and the filming and just being there.

  Then it hit me, some of these people were my age or younger when this stone was placed here and soon it will be somewhere else, gone.  This was just as much their place in time and their legacy as it was a tribute to the heroes of our nation.  No doubt World War II and that era made an impact on the generation standing in front of this memorial.  They were giddy, they were excited and they were for a moment in time, with this the object of their passion.

  I am not in my 80’s or 90’s.  I do not know what I will think or how I will feel should I get there.  But for today I feel fortunate to have been in Justice on a beautiful spring afternoon, when the elders of our community marched up for one last time to share stories and take pictures at a spot they will always be connected to.  Some day maybe, just maybe I too will have attained the age to know life better and like them be so old as to be so young.

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Portage Woods Clean Up Day

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Saturday May 29th the Portage Woods will be having an annual clean up day from 9 am to noon.  They will be doing weed whacking and general clean up and are looking for volunteers.  They will provide the training, tools, gloves and snacks and require wearing boots and  long pants.

Portage Woods Forest Preserve is located at 4800 S. Harlem in Lyons, on the west side of Harlem just two blocks north of the Stevenson Expressway (I55).

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Another Article on the relocation of Veteran’s Memorial

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

http://www.desplainesvalleynews.com/052010-moving-veterans-monument.php

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Village Committee Meeting 5/19/2010

Friday, May 21st, 2010

An unusual sight to behold, but the May 19th Committee Meeting was packed to the rafters at the Village hall, something that is rarely seen in the village. It seems that this comes from the fact that Mayor Wasowicz had stated in the Southtown Star that it would be a special meeting to discuss the relocation of the Veteran’s Memorial, but the evening left most residents feeling as though they had been put through a bait and switch.   Upon entering you were handed a copied sheet of “Facts” and one might want to note kindly to the village board to actually look up the definition of facts in the dictionary as some things on this list did not meet the definition. It was nice to see that they did reserve the first two rows for the local Veteran’s to sit in but that seems to be where the niceties for the evening ended.

 The Mayor stated that he would allow the veteran’s to speak first, and then the residents, and would like everyone to keep it within a two minute time frame; even though Trustee Bartoszek was given ample time to read a letter that she felt was pertinent to the matter to the entire audience.   Village resident Joe Egas treasurer of the Senior Club and Vietnam Veteran presented the board with over 200 signatures from Village residents against the moving of the memorial, he also gave a well spoken statement with many questions that people in town have been asking that were not answered, or poorly answered. Why do we need to rename the park when we already have a Veteran’s Park? Why do we have Trustees voting on this when they have relatives seated on the park board?  The only two Veteran’s in the room that spoke in favor of the memorial are both current employees of the Village and long time Wasowicz supporters who rudely  called out at the residents “Where have you been during the last few ceremonies?” One resident was heard to call back “How dare you! At the cemetery visiting my father who was a Veteran!” 

Park board Consultant Joe Vallez gave a presentation which outlined an expensive and expansive array of upgrades to the parks including new playground equipment, resurfacing the basketball courts and other improvements and then moving into the new drawing of the “improved” Veteran’s memorial.  Overwhelmingly the majority of the sentiment in the room was to leave the memorial in its current location, not to say that the gesture was not nice, but that with their input it is not something that was needed or wanted by them and not for the reasons that the board is giving.  The biggest question on the mind of the Vet’s was “How much is this going to cost the Village?” Trustee Bartoszek kept saying “It’s not going to cost the village anything.” Then in turn it was asked “How much is this going to cost the park district?” At this point the only figure quoted for sure is at least $1300 to relocate the stone not including their plans to install lights, flagpoles, benches, and other improvements. When one Veteran asked how far in debt the park district was and was quoted a sum of over $300,000 he replied with “We don’t need it then!”   Many of the seniors in the audience were heard to remark that this is not how they want their tax dollars spent when there is a perfectly good memorial already in town.

One former resident with the help of many others was able to force their way to speak and give a very passionate argument that this memorial is “Our memorial” that belongs to the people of this town, the people that collected the money door to door back in 1971 and it should not be moved unless this is something that the people want to happen as they are the ones that raised the effort, time and funds to put it there. She also openly challenged Trustee Bartoszek’s comment that the memorial stood “Unattended for over 30 years” by stating that she comes four times a year to change the flowers on behalf of her mother and has the decorations in her vehicle, and further stated that when her nephew tried to maintain the stone and cut some of the bushes back he was questioned and ran off by Village employees.

The Mayor called for a 10 minute recess and had left several residents standing waiting to make comments, some of whom had historical data that they wished to share with the board. When they returned the residents were informed  by Trustee Bartoszek that unlike the information given in the Southtown Star, this meeting was scheduled to view a presentation, and that no further comments would be taken, and the village would be moving forward with the relocation of the memorial.  Needless to say this left many residents feeling as though they were part of an elaborate shell game courtesy of the open and transparent administration Mayor Wasowicz so frequently reminds us that he heads.

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Article on the Monument Relocation

Friday, May 21st, 2010

From Phil Kadner’s Column in the Daily Southtown May 21 2010.

http://www.southtownstar.com/news/kadner/2299574,052110kadner.article

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Residents Continue to Protest Relocation of Vet’s Memorial

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

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Meeting Wednesday, 7 pm to discuss Veteran’s Memorial

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

There will be a meeting at 7 pm, at the Village Hall, 7800 S Archer Wednesday May 19th to discuss the move of Veteran’s Memorial.

Please see the article written today in the Southtown Economist by Phil Kadner regarding this matter:

http://www.southtownstar.com/news/kadner/2276824,051610kadner.article

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A concerned Residents opinion on the Veteran’s Memorial

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

 

TO ALL VETERANS OF ALL WARS YOUR SERVICE IS NOT APPRECIATED IN THE VILLAGE OF JUSTICE.
 
The Village Trustees passed a ordinance allowing the Park District to move the Veterans Memorial from the corner of 88th and Frontage Road where it is in clear view of Archer Ave and 88th Ave and the entrance to the Village to the rear of the Village Hall.  This was done quick and simple, no mention to the people of Justice, no need for input from the Veterans, they don’t matter, all that matters is a sign that says “Village of Justice Park Administration Building.”   They couldn’t put that sign on Cork, they couldn’t add it to the one that is in front of the old Why Not Building, NO they have to move the Memorial.
 
They are going to tell you that there is going to be a Memorial Garden and a bench and it’s going to be quiet, but they are not going to tell you that it is behind the Village Hall where no one can see it, they are not going to tell you how they are going to stop kids from defacing it or vandalizing it, and they are not going to tell you that you need to be in the back of the bus.
 
You the people that have allowed them to have seats on the Board, who have given me the freedom to type this message, who have laid down lives and limbs for all of us, you are relegated to the back of the building.  This is totally unacceptable. 
 
They are saying the Village doesn’t have the money to fix the lights, all they have to do is have a fund raiser for improvements to that memorial and people will be out in droves.  They only thing is when the Village gets money they spend it on things like $1,000.00 a month to have someone write on a blog for the village because they don’t like that we are telling you the real things that go on in the Village, but they can’t pay to have the lights fixed at the Veteran’s Memorial.
 
People stand up and let your voice be heard, tell them to leave it where it has been for the past 40 years, where it holds a place of honor.  If it needs fixing we will get people to fix it, we will raise the funds to keep it kept like it should be.  Don’t let them take your memorial away from you and put it in the back of the bus.  Fight, that is what you do best, and we are proud of each and every one of you.
 
Everyone, call the Trustees, call the Mayor, e-mail them, mail them protests, sign petitions. 
 
We love our Veterans, and GOD BLESS AMERICA and the MEN and WOMEN who serve.

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Long Standing Veterans Memorial to Relocate

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

The Justice Park District and the Village Board is seeking to relocate the Veteran’s memorial on Oak Grove and Frontage Road as soon as the end of this month.  While the Justice Park District is proposing to foot the bill, and make a nice memorial garden as well it just doesn’t seem to make sense to move the memorial to our Veteran’s from the most visible thoroughfare in town, to the Southwest corner in Commissioners Park.  When digging into the matter further it seems that the park district is looking to develop the land that the current memorial stands on into a sign/advertising space for the Justice Park District.
 
Why the Park District cannot add themselves onto the sign that lists businesses in town that is located in the space on the opposite corner of Frontage Road seems to be a mystery.  Earlier this year park district Trustee Dan McGee was proposing the purchase of a cannon and the renaming of Commissioners Park to Veteran’s Park and maybe this move is an attempt to move his idea into reality. Even more interesting is that with exception of Trustee Murray who abstained from voting, all the Trustees on the village board voted in favor of this, even more puzzling is why Trustee Mary McGee, wife of park district Trustee Dan McGee didn’t abstain from the vote due to a very apparent conflict. 
 
 The current memorial stone that had stood in that spot for more years than most people can remember was donated to the village by a local stone mason to commemorate the service of our local Veterans.  It seems to make sense to show our respect and to honor our veterans in one of the most prominent spots in town.  While improving the veteran’s memorial is a wonderful idea, there is no reason that some funding cannot be allocated to improve the memorial where it is currently standing. 
 
We are suggesting to all of the residents that have contacted us via the website asking about this matter to take this opportunity to contact the Mayor and the Trustees to protest the relocation of this memorial. We would suggest that you send correspondence to the attention of the Village Clerk, 7800 S Archer Ave, Justice, Il 60458.

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Board Gaffes Over Sunshine Laws

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

 

Like a pot left on the stove too long tensions at Monday’s board meeting were boiling over.  The long suspected cracks between the board members and Mayor were seen on full display yesterday evening during a heated exchange with Mayor Wasowicz and Trustee DePaola.  After giving his report Trustee DePaola went on to make a motion regarding the board of trustees moving for an Ethics Hearing, the matter of the ethics hearing remained unnamed last night, as Mayor Wasowicz denied the motion and deferred it to be discussed at the next committee meeting as the motion was “Not on the agenda”.  Trustee DePaola went onto say that it was a “surprise” which caused several members of the audience to laugh at his expense. Trustee DePaola went onto openly argue with the Mayor citing that they “Allowed the Richie Sparr thing” to be heard and that was not on the agenda, however the Mayor cited the need to have that position filled which Trustee DePaola argued back and forth with the Mayor on. The Mayor had to remind Trustee DePaola that he was out of order numerous times.  Finally, the Mayor, noting that “We all love surprises” put the matter to rest and denied the motion and deferred it to committee and seemingly unsatisfied with this Trustee DePaola retorted with “I’ll remember this” continuing to bring out the best in people, someone from the audience was heard to call out that Trustee DePaola’s behavior was “classy”.  While Trustee Pastorino later tried to smooth the event over by stating that the matter was left off the agenda by mistake and that having it entered into the agenda wasn’t necessary but was a desired matter of public record as any citizen can bring forth an ethics complaint it’s hard to really reconcile that as in Trustee DePaola’s own words it was a “surprise”.
 
Even more puzzling when a resident questioned whether or not the seat left vacant by Trustee Fairman was going to be filled after an article ran in last week’s Des Plaines Valley News stating that the spot should be filled according to the Illinois State Board of Elections the attorney present for the village Michael Castellano kept referring the residents to “read the statute.” After being pressed by several residents to give an answer to whether or not the seat would be filled the reply given was cryptic at best and unsatisfactory at the least.  Apparently the statute is “black and white” but the village is taking an “interpretation” on it and they are seeking another “interpretation” while they are entertaining and keeping all their options open.  A resident asked if the seat would be filled within the 60 days as was stated previously but it seems that that question was never clearly answered.

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